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DUFF MCKAGAN to release 'Tenderness Live From Los Angeles'

Photo credit: Charles Peterson


GUNS N’ ROSES bassist Duff McKagan is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his acclaimed second solo album, “Tenderness”, with “Tenderness Live From Los Angeles”, a brand new double-live collection arriving everywhere on Friday, May 31.

Recorded June 13, 2019 at Los Angeles’ historic El Rey Theatre just days following “Tenderness”‘s May 2019 release, “Tenderness Live From Los Angeles” sees McKagan taking an intimate journey through his own canon of songs along with a few deeply personal cover versions, backed by three-time Grammy Award-winning “Tenderness” producer Shooter Jennings and his band. “Tenderness Live From Los Angeles” is heralded by today’s premiere of an electrifying rendition of “River Of Deceit”, originally performed by McKagan‘s close friends, Seattle supergroup MAD SEASON — comprised of guitarist Mike McCready (PEARL JAM),drummer Barrett Martin (SCREAMING TREES) and the late Layne Staley (ALICE IN CHAINS) and bassist John Baker Saunders (THE WALKABOUTS) — and available everywhere now.

“It was such a complete pleasure and honor to be able to work with Shooter Jennings and his stellar band for the recording of the songs that became the ‘Tenderness’ record,” says Duff McKagan. “Having Aubrey and John playing fiddle and pedal steel guitar on the tracks, really led the music in a brand new direction for me. I strive for change and growth in life, and these guys ushered me into a brand new musical world. This relationship was made more special, when Shooter and the band agreed to tour ‘Tenderness’ with me. Remember, Ted KempJamie DouglasAubrey RichmondJohn Scheffler and Shooter had been touring for years together. They are a tight-as-hell unit. I won the lottery!

“This live recording from the El Rey in Los Angeles showcases not only the songs on the record, but some cover songs we started to fold into the live set as we toured. We’ve highlighted a couple tracks from this show — ‘Tenderness’ being one, of course, and our version of the MAD SEASON song ‘River Of Deceit’. Such a beautiful song written by guys from back home that I know now, and a couple who are no longer with us. It feels like a celebration to me. All of these live shows we did on that tour felt like a shedding, a prayer to better things, and a beautiful coming together of all you bad motherfuckers.”

“One of the highlights of my life was making ‘Tenderness’ with Duff McKagan,” says Shooter Jennings. “A thoughtful songwriter and even more thoughtful person. Touring with Duff checked another box of personal dreams come true! We had a blast out on the road. “I remember playing the El Rey. The crowd was packed. I remember leaving the stage feeling like we had done something really special.

“Getting to mix the album all these years later was such a treat. To be able to mix it on the 1976 Frank Demedio custom API console (the same console that Prince recorded and mixed ‘Purple Rain’ on) in legendary Sunset Sound Studio 3 (a.k.a. Snake Mountain),was like being able to distill a righteous memory through a flawless diamond. Sitting in that studio listening to the band play through those big speakers allowed for me to get lost in the music and let it guide me to bring this experience to record players everywhere!”

Newly mixed in the legendary Sunset Sound Studio 3 (a.k.a. Snake Mountain) by Jennings using the famed custom API console on which Prince recorded and mixed “Purple Rain”“Tenderness Live From Los Angeles” is further highlighted by powerful takes on THE CLASH‘s classic “Clampdown” and such GUNS N’ ROSES fan favorites as “You Ain’t The First”“Dust N’ Bones” and “Dead Horse”. But at its heart, the set casts a spotlight on McKagan‘s own striking songcraft, with live versions of tracks originally featured on “Tenderness”, including the volatile rocker “Chip Away”, which earned extraordinary praise from the maestro himself Bob Dylan, who recently declared the song a personal favorite.

Named by Loudwire as one of 2019’s “50 Best Rock Albums,” “Tenderness” marked a powerful new chapter for the ever-evolving McKagan, taking on societal ills and his own personal transgressions against a rich sonic backdrop of Americana-fueled arrangements. Fueled by such songs as the nuanced “It’s Not Too Late” and the deeply hopeful title track, “Tenderness” was met by widespread acclaim from such outlets as Rolling Stone, which hailed it in a three-and-a-half (out of four)-starred rave as “an album full of beauty and heart…It’s music of conscience, heavy songs with a light touch.” “A superb set of roots-rock ruminations,” declared Entertainment Weekly. “With Jennings‘s help, McKagan crafted a mix of rock and Americana evoking both the Glimmer Twins and the Gutter Twins.” “McKagan takes a hard look at some of the most important issues facing our country right now…equal parts ROLLING STONESLou Reed and ‘Lies’-era GUNS N’ ROSES,” wrote Consequence.

“Tenderness Live From Los Angeles” follows last year’s release of McKagan‘s equally acclaimed third solo album, “Lighthouse”, available everywhere now.

McKagan recently announced plans to celebrate “Lighthouse” with a major European tour. “Lighthouse ’24” tour gets underway September 30 at Dublin, Ireland’s The Academy, and then makes stops in Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Sweden through late October.

“Tenderness Live From Los Angeles” track listing:
01. You Ain’t The First
02. Breaking Rocks
03. Tenderness
04. Chip Away
05. Feel
06. Wasted Heart
07. River Of Deceit
08. Dust N’ Bones
09. Last September
10. It’s Not Too Late
11. Falling Down
12. Cold Outside
13. Parkland
14. Clampdown
15. Dead Horse
16. Don’t Look Behind You
17. Deepest Shade

Duff McKagan has also announced a European tour for October 2024. Kicking off from Dublin, the series of shows will see the iconic musician play in 15 cities in 11 countries, bringing “Lighthouse” to life with his legendary live performances.

McKagan says: “At last! At last! See you all soon.”

Tour dates:

Sep. 30 – Dublin, Academy, Eire
Oct. 02 – Glasgow, Oran Mor, UK
Oct. 03 – Manchester, Academy 2, UK
Oct. 05 – London, Islington Assembly Hall, UK
Oct. 07 – Utrecht, TivoliVredenburg, Netherlands
Oct. 08 – Cologne, Kantine, Germany
Oct. 09 – Munich, Freiheitshalle, Germany
Oct. 11 – Brno, Sono Centrum, Czech Republic
Oct. 13 – Warsaw, Stodola, Poland
Oct. 14 – Berlin, Heimathafen, Germany
Oct. 16 – Milan, Magazzini Generali, Italy
Oct. 17 – Solothurn, Kofmeh, Switzerland
Oct. 19 – Liege, OM, Belgium
Oct. 20 – Paris, Trianon, France
Oct. 22 – Stockholm, Nalen, Sweden

McKagan recently also announced an expanded digital edition of his acclaimed third solo album, “Lighthouse”, available now at all DSPs and streaming services. The deluxe release includes eight additional tracks along with three exclusive live performance videos filmed last December at Easy Street Records in McKagan‘s hometown of Seattle, Washington.

“Lighthouse (Expanded Edition)” is highlighted by a stripped-down acoustic rendition of the album standout, “I Just Don’t Know”, transformed from its powerful original version into a soaring, reflective ballad which showcases the vulnerability of the lyrics and McKagan‘s vocal performance.

‘I Just Don’t Know (Acoustic Mix)’ is a song I landed upon, that seems to encapsulate somehow, my own personal thoughts about what’s next in life, and what is out there in general,” says McKagan. “It’s the core of the human existence to ponder the afterlife. I like to have fun with the possibilities.”

Hailed by Paste as “an emotional, personal and spiritual reckoning…( McKagan‘s) most important rock project yet,” “Lighthouse” now also features “This Is The Song”“It Can’t Come Too Soon” and “Pass You By” (all originally found on McKagan‘s “This Is The Song” EP, released last May to honor Mental Health Awareness Month),along with the previously unheard “C’mon Boys” (featuring outlaw country badass Jesse Dayton) and live versions of the fan favorites “I Saw God On 10th Street”“Just Another Shakedown” and “Longfeather”. All three live tracks are accompanied by official videos from the intimate hometown event. In addition, a complete video capturing McKagan‘s live in-store performance can be viewed in its entirety via YouTube.

“Lighthouse” is available now in a wide range of formats including streaming, download, CD and LP. A number of deluxe versions and bundles featuring official Certificates Of Authenticity signed by McKagan are also available. An exclusive line of brand-new “Lighthouse” merch is available now at www.duffonline.com.

“It’s very nice for me to add the ‘This Is The Song’ EP from earlier last year, into the mix here of the ‘Lighthouse’ record itself,” says McKagan. “Playing Easy Street Records in December was made much cooler when my erstwhile producer Martin Feveyear came up with the idea to record the show. We have included that recorded live show to this expanded release. There is also a studio track called ‘C’mon Boys’ that really only became a song when legendary Austin blues man and rockabilly god Jesse Dayton stopped by the studio with his guitar and voice!”

“Lighthouse” sees McKagan baring more of his artistic spirit than ever before, fusing acoustic elements with hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll to land at the sweet spot between soul-searching reflection and pure energy. The album was first announced last summer alongside its title track, “Lighthouse”, joined by an official visualizer streaming now at the official Duff McKagan YouTube channel.

“Lighthouse” was soon followed by “I Saw God On 10th Street”, also joined by an official visualizer. “I Saw God On 10th Street” received immediate praise from such outlets as Kerrang!Revolver and American Songwriter“Longfeather” arrived next, hailed by Revolver as “folky, elegiac” and joined by an official music video directed by longtime visual collaborators Connor EllmannKuj Durollari and Arben Durollari. A video for the song “I Just Don’t Know (Feat. Jerry Cantrell)” is also available.

Regarding how Jerry Cantrell ended up on the album, Duff told SPIN: “He and I have been playing on each other’s demos for years and have known each other since around 1989 or 1990. We watch football together on Sundays and I played a lot of bass on his last solo album. I sent him ‘I Just Don’t Know’ and he was, like, ‘Man, this is great. Do you want me to do anything on it?’ I said, ‘Yeah. A solo.’ He brought that beautiful solo and then asked if I needed him to sing, and I said, ‘Sure.'”

On the topic of the lyrical inspiration for the “Lighthouse” title track, Duff told Paste: “I try to be somewhat reserved with my lyric writing and, sometimes, have a few meanings — none are wrong. But ‘Lighthouse’ I wrote as my wife being the lighthouse, my life. Our kids are grown, and she and I have been through so much stuff together. And then we got a worldwide pandemic that we were going through together. The way she really supported me — I had just got my own studio right before COVID started, and I had recorded two songs. I was supposed to be off on a GUNS N’ ROSES tour and, of course, that all came crumbling down. I really realized, with her, in our time when you’re not in contact with other people, it was just her and I thought, ‘Fuck, man, we’re solid.’ We’d heard about people splitting up during COVID; we got drawn closer to each other during that (time). I’m a fortunate guy to have met her, that girl Susan Holmes, when I was 32, two years into sobriety — because there was something that clicked and, hopefully, for both of us, that really has made my life make sense. Even in the darkest times, even when I’m suffering a panic attack or some other malady, I still know I have her.”

Starting at just 15, McKagan has been a part of such diverse and influential bands as THE VAINS (1979),THE FASTBACKS (1980),THE LIVING (1982),THE FARTZ (1982),10 MINUTE WARNING (1983) and LOADED (1998),along, of course, with his historic role as founding member of both GUNS N’ ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER. Produced by three-time Grammy Award winner Shooter JenningsMcKagan‘s 2019 second solo album, “Tenderness”, marked a powerful new chapter for the ever-evolving artist, taking on societal ills and his own personal transgressions against a rich sonic backdrop of Americana-fueled arrangements. Named by Loudwire as one of that year’s “50 Best Rock Albums” and hailed by Rolling Stone in a three-and-a-half (out of four)-starred rave as “an album full of beauty and heart…It’s music of conscience, heavy songs with a light touch,” the album includes the volatile rocker “Chip Away”, which earned extraordinary praise from the maestro himself, Bob Dylan, who declared the song a personal favorite.

Along with his prolific musical efforts, McKagan is The New York Times best-selling author of 2011’s “It’s So Easy: And Other Lies” and 2015’s “How To Be A Man: (And Other Illusions)”, and the co-host (with Susan Holmes McKagan) of SiriusXM‘s popular “Three Chords & The Truth” radio show on Ozzy’s Boneyard (Ch. 38). McKagan currently serves as a core member of a modern-day “Wrecking Crew” alongside Grammy Award-winning musician/producer Andrew Watt and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS‘ Chad Smith, recording and co-writing on such recent albums as Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Ordinary Man” (2020) and two-time Grammy Award-winning “Patient No. 9” (2022) and Iggy Pop‘s acclaimed “Every Loser” (2023).